Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and Co. J.K. Rowling does.
Summary: After one very eventful night ten years ago, Voldemort was destroyed and Harry disappeared. Where did he go? What happened that night? Only one man knows the answer: a teacher named James, aka Harry. Hermione's plan to get Harry back is going into action, and James isn't too happy. Final chapter.
Author's note: Whoo-hoo! Here is a present from me to you: an incredibly long and hopefully exciting last chapter to "Hidden Beneath". I worked really hard to get it up fast. I hope you all enjoy it!
Chapter 27: An Ending and a Story
Both groups started to advance on James, and he once again renewed his efforts to break free.
"C'mon, Jamesie," said Emma. "Just show us your back and we can go."
A chorus of agreements came from James' friends.
"Yeah," said Sarah, "It's getting late and I would like to leave. This is getting way out of proportion and these people have got to be reported to the police."
James could feel the ropes around his wrist loosening as the knots became smaller, freeing more rope to make the loops bigger. He knew that with just a few more pulls he could free his hands and be able to get out of the chair.
"I, personally, don't see why you're making such a fuss," said Hermione. "You don't even have to show the scar on your forehead to prove to me who you are. I know who you are, you just have to admit it."
James freed his hands. "No!" he snarled as he jumped up from the chair. "I don't have to do anything!" He took a step backwards. "I don't know who you are and I don't care. Just leave me alone!" He kept taking steps backwards until he back was pressed against the wall.
A semicircle was formed around him, the people in the room seeming to bear down on him.
"I can't even see his scar from here..." said Ginny, with surprise in her voice.
"But there's a lock of hair in the way," noted Hermione. She stared at James. "I don't know how you did it, but somehow there is always something blocking your scar. Which means--"
Peter interrupted. "James, just show us your back and we can go. Let's just get this over with."
Peter's words made some sense to James. After all, if he showed them his back first, then he would be free to go and could leave before they even had a chance to see his forehead. It was the lesser of two evils (both would cause him to remember the past), but it was the only option that would let him avoid confronting Ron and Hermione.
"Fine," said James, a bit weakly. "Fine. I'll show you my back. Then can I leave?"
Hermione, mistaking the weakness of James' voice for evidence that he was lying, smiled and said, "Sure. You can leave as soon as I see those supposed 'scars'."
James quickly unbuttoned the shirt he was wearing and took it off. Then, feeling more like a freak in the zoo than a human being, turned around.
There were gasps from his friends (excepting Peter, who had already seen the scars) and the Weasleys, followed by a breathless "It can't be!" from Hermione.
"Now, can I please, please, leave?" asked James, turning around slowly. His face was red with humiliation and he did not dare look into the faces of those around him.
"But-- but-- where did you get those?" asked Hermione.
"I was in a fire when I was little," lied James quietly, putting his shirt back on loosely.
"Alright," said Peter after a short silence, "You and your little friends have had your fun," he said to Hermione. "We're leaving now. C'mon James."
"No!" said Hermione in desperation. "I know your Harry, I just know it! You can't leave. Let me just see his forehead, I know there will be a scar there!"
Sarah was starting to get annoyed at Hermione's antics. "Look lady, you've not only kidnapped our friend, but you've also made him extremely embarrassed and upset. Now if you don't let us leave, I'm going to bring the biggest lawsuit against you that I can find! So get out of our way."
Hermione stood shocked for a moment or two, until her desperation became too strong. "Fred, George, grab him!"
Luckily for Hermione, Fred and George were now just as curious as she was, and they followed her orders.
James gave a loud "Oof!" as the twins pinned him to the wall.
"Just what do you think you're doing!" shouted Emma. "Let go of him! Let go of him!"
"Why don't you just wait two seconds and let me do what I want?" shouted Hermione back. "Just two seconds, that's all I ask."
Sarah rolled her eyes and grabbed Emma before she could say another word. "Just let her do it," said Sarah. "It will go faster. She won't find anything anyway."
As Hermione came a step closer to James, panic rose in his chest. He looked to Jacob with pleading in his eyes. Jacob looked back sorrowfully. He knew what would happen to James if Hermione saw the scar, but he also knew that the moment he said anything, James' past would be discovered. And James could see in Jacob's eyes the sadness he felt at James' predicament, and James knew that Jacob would give the world to be able to stop Hermione, even if he was a little annoying about James' secret at times.
James looked back at Hermione with near-hysteria. She was reaching out her hand towards James to push back his hair.
"Please-- Hermione-- don't do this," said James with a trembling voice. "Please don't do this to me."
Hermione's hand was touching James' hair.
James squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to die or break free from the twins' strong arms. Hermione had to be stopped. Every fiber of James' body and soul was screaming it, Stop Hermione. James did not want to face what had happened. He could not. Why? Why could he not stay happily in denial? Why was Hermione being so ruthless, so unfeeling? James was getting desperate as he could feel Hermione start to pull back his hair. Stop her! Stop her!
Suddenly, the power inside James welled up. Despite the all the pills he had swallowed, the power in him forced its way out to obey the commands of James' very soul.
A series of explosions went off around the room. Anything electrical blew up with sparks and smoke. A florescent light from the ceiling flickered and fell, almost hitting Hermione. A white light glowed from James, making the momentarily dark room suddenly bright.
The power flooding from James squeezed his chest and his heart. His lungs could not get enough air and his head felt like it would explode. His muscles screamed and his ears pounded.
Suddenly, the power in James went dull, and he collapsed to the floor, gasping.
The room was dark. After a moment of tense silence, someone said a spell and the room was lit up again.
Peter, Sarah, Emma, and Jacob stood back, all of them shocked and the first three frightened. Hermione, Fred, George, and Ginny were also shocked, standing rigidly in place, staring at James. Only Ron was brave enough to feel compassion and sympathy towards James and reach out to a friend-- a brother-- whom he had not really seen in ten years.
"Are you okay?" asked Ron, gently helping James to his feet.
"Why?" was the only thing James said.
He wearily made his way to the chair that was still in the center of the room. The power in him was now at its full level. James could feel the power in him like a weight, and suddenly he could sense the power levels of the people in the room (magical or not), their intentions, and the remains of the last spell they cast (Hermione: a tracking spell, Ron: a cleaning spell, Ginny: a light-casting spell, George: a repair spell, and Fred: a singing hex). He was overwhelmed by all the feelings he was receiving and felt ready to weep when he realized that this power in him had finally defeated the pills and could no longer be contained. Ciara had never made pills for an E level before, and James knew that he could not easily use the pills again.
He sat down heavily and stared straight ahead, defeated. "Why?"
Hermione walked over to James. "We did this to save you, Harry."
James stood up slowly and faced Hermione.
"Excuse me?" Rage filled James' heart and a fire started dancing in his eyes. "Excuse me? To save me? That's bullshit, Hermione, and you know it! You only did this you save yourself! I have tried so hard to escape all this, and look at what you've done! You've destroyed my life!"
James' voice turned harsh and biting. "I hope you're proud of yourself, Hermione. You're the hero of the year. Congratulations, you rescued the savior of the wizarding world, Harry Potter, from his life of happiness, to bring him home to a world he abhors."
In his fit of anger, James pushed his hair up to reveal the scar on his forehead. He pointed to it angrily. "There's the stupid scar. Are you happy? That's all my life has ever been: that scar. All my problems, all my embarrassment, all my suffering have come from it. And now, the destruction of the one life I loved! It's gone, and all because of this damn scar! Now go give yourself a stupid metal for you damn heroics, Hermione, and LEAVE ME ALONE!"
James sat back down in the chair and put his head in his hands. Hermione stared, her mouth open. "Harry, I'm so sorry..." She touched his back lightly. "Harry?"
"Don't touch me," said James threateningly. "Just-- go away."
The Weasleys and James' friends stood quietly in the corner, mouths agape at the scene unfolding in front of them. Hermione took a few steps back to join them.
James felt lost in a world of Harry and James. Not knowing who he was. The delicate life he had worked so hard to make had crashed down around him and he felt as if he had nowhere to go, no one to trust.
"I think we should take James home now," said Jacob quietly.
"You can use my taxi," offered Ron.
Peter finally spoke up. "Just a moment. Nobody's going anywhere, until I have some questions answered."
"Why don't we do that tomorrow, Peter?" said Jacob. "James is obviously tired from this ordeal..."
Peter rounded on Jacob. "Aren't you curious? I mean, I don't even know who's telling the truth here! And too many unusual things have happened for me walk away this time. No. I need some answers."
Emma and Sarah agreed.
"All I'm saying is that tomorrow might be better for everyone here. A good night's sleep and tempers in check will make everyone calmer," said Jacob.
"You sound like you don't want to hear an explanation," said Emma suspiciously. "Do you know something we don't? Or are you just looking out for the welfare of the world?"
"Why would I know anything that you don't?" asked Jacob nervously.
"Because you and Jamesie have been acting strange ever since our wedding," said Emma. "I do have observation skills, you know."
Jacob looked over at James, who was sitting with his back to the group. It was like he was not even hearing their conversation. He just sat, staring at the wall, dazed.
"James?" said Jacob. "James? Do you want me to explain for you?" He figured that the truth had to come out at some point.
James waved his hand indifferently and mumbled something.
"Okay then," said Jacob. "I will explain it."
"I knew it!" said Emma loudly. "You are in league with Jamesie! You are both plotting something! And to think I married you!"
Jacob rolled his eyes at his wife's predictable over-the-top reaction. "Do you want to hear it or not?"
That quieted her down, and everyone (excepting James) came up around Jacob, waiting for his explanation with bated breath.
Jacob sighed and brushed a hand through his hair. "Now, I don't know much," he began, "But what I do know I will tell you. I know who James is only because he told us, and I was shown a book that had a biography of him in it."
"That's dumb," interrupted Emma. "Nobody wrote a book about Jamesie and he told us that he was a defense attorney."
"If you would only listen to me, I could finish explaining..." said Jacob, slightly peeved. "If you recall, James had three histories in total."
"The one I made up," said Peter. "The one he told us, and...?"
"The other one he told us, about being a person named Harry Potter."
"But he made that up," said Sarah, confused.
"No, he told the truth and we all laughed," said Jacob. "We essentially forced him to create a new history because he couldn't prove the real one."
"But you can't possibly think we're stupid enough to believe that story about 'being the most powerful wizard' or whatever," said Sarah. "It's obviously not true."
Hermione couldn't help it. She burst out laughing. "Wait, let me get this straight. Harry-- he told you? He actually told you his real history and you guys didn't believe him?" She wiped the tears from her eyes. "Oh, that is too precious! And you call yourselves his friends..."
"And who are you guys?" said Jacob angrily. "You call yourself his friend? That's a laugh. You kidnapped him. You made him miserable. You destroyed his life. Yeah, you're a great friend."
Hermione narrowed her eyes. "We knew Harry for his entire childhood, and if you think--"
"I know how long you've known James, and I also know that your friendship was rather frayed in the last few years you knew him," said Jacob. "We've known him for over ten years, making that just about the same amount of time you've known him. So don't use that superior tone of voice when you talk to us, because we are just as qualified to care about him as you are."
There was a stunned silence as the truth in Jacob's statement sunk into Hermione and the Weasley's heads, and as Sarah and Emma nodded approvingly at Jacob. Hermione's tone of voice was starting to bother them, too.
"But Jacob," said Peter, "How do you know all this?"
"I know this because my niece was admitted to the Toronto School of Magic while I was visiting her, and she told me about James. She was the one who lent me the book, and all I did was remember what James told us about himself and asked him about it. So he told me and I believed him." Jacob's tone turned apologetic. "But please don't get mad at me. I tried as hard as I could to persuade James to tell you guys again, but he wouldn't let me. I'm sorry, but I had made a promise not to tell."
"So James is a..." started Sarah.
"A wizard," said Hermione, unable to stop herself. She glared in James's direction. "He is a wizard who has forgotten his debt to society."
"Okay, that's it," said Ron, stepping into the situation. "I have just about had it with you self-righteous attitude, Hermione. Harry has a debt to society? What about society's debt to him? Or have you forgotten what he did so long ago? I think you have gone too far this time. Harry has been through a lot, and though I don't exactly know what happened to him, I do know that it wasn't a romp in the meadows. So lay off the poor man, okay? And stop this stupid inquisition."
Hermione became quiet after her husband's outburst.
"Well, if she's going to stop, I'm going to continue," said Peter, after a pause. "And for the first question, what the hell is a wizard? And please don't tell me you believe in magic..."
Hermione was about to speak but Ron stopped her. "A wizard is a man who uses magic, and yes, it is real. You saw what happened when Harry was pushed to the edge... his power within him took over, and the power is his ability to do magic."
Sarah crossed her arms. "Okay, I have an open mind. Let's see you prove that you can do this 'magic', and no card tricks, okay?"
Ginny took out her wand. "Okay, just watch." She pointed her wand to the ceiling and repaired the fluorescent lights. She transfigured some chairs stacked in the corner into a couch. And she turned Sarah's dress a hideous plaid pattern. "Do you need any more proof?" Ginny asked sweetly.
Sarah, Peter, and Emma just stood there, staring at Sarah's dress, with their mouths open.
"Cool," said Emma. "Super cool. Awesomely cool. Hey," she said, turning to Ginny, "While you're at it, can you take this stain out of my dress? It's been annoying me for days..."
Ginny waved her wand and said a spell. "No problem."
"Thanks," said Emma, rubbing the spot where the stain used to be. "You rock."
"Well, you happen to have an extremely cute dress, and I'd hate to see it ruined."
Emma pointed to Ginny's clothes. "Actually, I really must complement those awesome robes you're--"
"Wait," Peter interrupted. "Just wait a moment. If James is a wizard and all the things you've said is true, then he is not named James Potterson, and he's not a defense attorney, and he's not in a fight with his relatives over a will, and he's not an actor look-alike, and I'm also willing to bet that he's not burnt from a fire when he was little, and he's not taking pills to cure allergies. And this all means that..." Peter turned towards James and advanced on him. "You lied," Peter said, pointing an accusing finger in James' face. "You lied about everything."
"Someone's a bucket of brains..." mumbled one of the twins to the other.
Peter didn't hear. "I trusted you and knew you for ten years. My family and I took you in and treated you like a long lost relative. And you've had the effrontery to pretend to be my best friend even though you had been lying to me all this time!"
"If it makes you feel any better," said Hermione, "He lied to us as well..."
"I don't get it..." said Peter angrily. "How do you live with yourself, knowing that your whole life is one big lie?"
That shook James out of his daze. "You don't know anything about me," hissed James, looking into Peter's eyes. "You have no right to accuse me so callously of lying. Sure, I was not always honest about my past, but I never lied about whom I was trying to be and what I was trying to accomplish. Lying about my past was the only was to create an honest future."
"An honest future?" shouted Peter. "Did that future ever include telling you're friends about your other life?"
James stood up. "Did you even listen to Jacob? Are you listening to me? I told you all about me having been a wizard! And everyone laughed. You got angry at me... told me to stop fooling around and tell you the truth. What I supposed to do, Peter? Keep telling you over and over that I had been a wizard and have you keep getting angrier and angrier?"
"You could have just shown us magic like your friend over there."
"Oh yeah," said James sarcastically, "Because that would have worked. The minute I started doing magic was the minute the ministry officials were going to come bursting through the doors to take me back. They already had the bakery monitored and I know they had a tag on me. I couldn't prove it to you, Peter, because then I would be taken away from all of you and my life in Canada."
"Well, at least we would have known the truth!" said Peter, too angry to properly realize what he was saying.
"Well, I guess you're about to get what you want," spat James. "I'm sure the ministry has already detected me and is on their way. They probably would have been here sooner if it wasn't for how late it is."
Peter just glared in response (since he really knew nothing about the ministry and therefore couldn't respond) and sat down on the sofa.
"How do you know the ministry had a tag on you?" asked Hermione.
"Oh please, Hermione," said James. "I was on the committee responsible for creating those tags. I thought you would know that."
"Well, seeing as you never told me anything while you were working, I don't see how I could," answered Hermione curtly.
Ron walked over to James. "Harry, do you want me to drive you somewhere before the ministry comes? It wouldn't be a problem..."
James looked at Ron in surprise, and then relented. "That would be nice... but I want to stay away from any wizarding forms of travel."
"Don't worry, the car is completely non-magical. I could drive you to that place that will fly you across the ocean."
"The airport?" asked James.
"Yeah. And then I'll drive the car back here so the ministry can't trace it, even through muggle ways."
"'Muggle' had better not mean 'criminal' or something," said Sarah, "Because right now it sounds as if you're running from the law or something."
"No," said Hermione quickly, "He's just running from an entire would, which, of course, is much easier." She threw a glare in her husband's and James' direction.
"Well, you're certainly not making this situation any easier, Hermione," said Ron. "Just let Harry leave. As much as I, too, would like him back, it's clear to me that it would be better for him to just leave."
Hermione looked over to Harry, and saw that even though he tried to maintain a cold and angry attitude, he was really just a frightened person. It reminded her of seeing him the summer after Cedric died, when he had looked at Hermione and Ron with fear, fear because he knew that it was his loved ones that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would target.
Hermione summoned up all her bravery and compassion inside her, and said, "Fine, let him leave. He can go."
Ron, Ginny, and the twins blinked a few times in surprise. Even James' angry gaze softened for a moment.
"But Jamesie can't just leave!" cried Emma. "What would we do?"
"I think it's clear that some people will do just fine without me," answered James, looking pointedly at Peter.
"I don't want to be friends with a criminal who lies to his supposed best friends," said Peter harshly. "What did you do? Wreak murder and mayhem on one world, and figure, "What the hell, I can always escape into another...' You were just using us, James. We were just people to hide behind so you wouldn't get caught."
Ron turned red with anger. "That's not true," he said. And before he could continue, James interrupted.
"Sure it's true," said James coldly. "I guess it's time to tell the truth. I'm a wizard, I'm a criminal, I'm running from the law, and I will not be returning to Canada. Feed my cat for me."
James didn't know what had come over him, but he was tired of people constantly accusing him and telling him who he was. It was just easier to agree than to defend himself. Besides, if his friends thought of him as a criminal, they would be mad at him and it would be easier for James to leave them. It's always easier to part after a fight than during the good times.
James started for the door, but was stopped when a hand caught his arm.
"Oh, no," said Peter, "You're not going anywhere."
"What do you care whether I leave or not?" asked James, pushing Peter's arm away. "You're not even a part of the wizarding world. You shouldn't even--"
But James was cut short when someone started pounding on the door. "Hello?" called a voice. "Anyone in there? We have detected a power surge with muggles in the area. We are coming in!"
"No," said James faintly, taking a step backwards. "No..." He could sense that there was a fair amount of wizards and witches outside that door, and that their intentions were not exactly in his best interest.
The rest of the people all stared in shock at the door. Hermione and the Weasleys were nervous because they knew Harry would be taken away from them and subjected to an even more intense inquiry than they gave him. Jacob, Emma, and Sarah were scared because they had very little idea of who "the ministry" was (even Jacob knew very little), but, whatever it was, it didn't sound very good for James. And though Peter felt anger towards James, in his heart he was frightened for James because Peter saw how frightened James was himself.
Someone unlocked the door with a spell and a group of about fifteen aurors burst into the room. They had their wands out just in case there was a danger of some sort.
James yanked himself out of Peter's grasp and moved to the center of the room. He stood with his knees slightly bent and his arms out, ready to run if he saw the chance. James' friends, Hermione, and the Weasleys gathered behind him, frightened for what would happen next.
James saw the head auror raise his wand and begin to whisper a spell. The poor auror didn't even get to finish.
Faster than one could blink, James knocked out the auror with a stunning spell and cast a small dome around himself, the group gathered behind him, and the chair.
The aurors stood shocked for a moment or two, and then went into a frenzy. The head of their section had just been knocked out by someone who could do powerful wandless magic and who just sealed himself in a light blue dome of protective magic.
"Call for more aurors, now!" James could faintly hear from inside the bubble, as if they were underwater. All sounds were fuzzy and vision was slightly blurred.
"What did you do?" asked Hermione in wonder.
"Yeah, this is... unusual," said Ron.
The aurors were firing curses and spells at the dome. The spells didn't even bounce off; everything was absorbed.
"Um, I don't know," said James. "I just wanted to protect myself."
A few brave aurors came up to the bubble and touched it. The light blue shield sunk slightly inwards when the aurors pushed on it with their hands, but as soon as they lifted their hands, the dome snapped back into place.
"What do you mean, 'you don't know'?" asked Sarah suspiciously.
"I don't know what I mean when I say 'I don't know'!" shouted James, starting to get hysterical. After all, the aurors were right outside and his magic just did something useful for the first time in ten years. "I don't know how I do these things! I don't even have control over my ability!"
"Calm down, Harry, just calm down," said Ron, putting his hand on James' shoulder. "You have to calm down if you don't know how your magic will react."
Ron made sense, and James made an effort to relax. He really did not want his magic to make anything else happen.
James looked around him. He briefly thought about apparating, but then was against the idea, reasoning that where ever he apparated to, he would still stick out like a sore thumb on the detection charts.
"Alright, James," said Peter, walking up to James slowly. "I think you owe us an explanation, now. Why don't you start with this question: What the hell did you do to get these people so angry at you?"
James gulped. "Um, well, I--"
"And why are you a criminal?" Peter took a step towards James.
"And why are you running from your police?" Peter stepped closer.
"And why did you lie about all of this to those you considered your best friends?"
Peter now had his hands gripping James' shirtfront, his face inches away from James' face. Peter was staring fiercely into James' eyes.
"Would you just let me explain?" asked James softly. "And Ginny, don't even think about casting that stunning spell."
Ginny guiltily put down her wand.
"Whoa," said George. "He's good."
Peter was not fazed. "Fine. Explain." He let go of James' shirt but made no move to back off.
"I'm- I'm not a criminal," said James. Though it might be better if I were.
Jacob walked up to Peter. "I can verify that. He's not a criminal and he's not in trouble with the police."
"You'd have to be really dumb to ever think Harry was a criminal," said Ginny, glaring at Peter.
"Yeah," said Fred. "How well do you know Harry anyway? I mean, have you ever spent more that two hours with the guy?"
"Of course I've spent time with James!" said Peter indignantly.
"Then you would know that Harry is the bravest, kindest, and most loyal person on the face of the planet," said Ron.
James turned red. "I'm none of those things, Ron. I'm a scared coward who can't even stay loyal to myself, never mind my friends."
Hermione came up and poked James in the chest. "Who sacrificed himself for his friends? Who killed He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Who devoted almost his entire life to saving the wizarding world?"
"Now, that's a mood swing," said Fred. "One minute she hates him, the next minute she's trying to cheer him up. I just don't get it..."
"Wait... what?" said Peter. "What did James do?"
Hermione turned around and put her hands on her hips. "He saved the entire wizarding world from a ruthless dictator!"
"Hermione..." said James, embarrassed and annoyed.
"He's the reason that many of us are still alive!"
"He's a house-hold name!"
"Would you just stop--"
"We have a Harry Potter Day! That's how revered he is!"
"Stop it!" said James, irritated. "And I'm pretty sure that not all that is true. I mean, there's not a Harry Potter Day. That would be... weird."
Fred shrugged. "Celebration of Peace... Harry Potter Day... same difference."
George grinned evilly. "But if it bothers you that much, we'll be sure to get the name changed. 'Harry Potter Day'... that might be a nice change from the old name. And who wouldn't want to miss seeing the Boy-Who-Lived bright red with embarrassment for 24 hours straight?"
"Hey, who wouldn't want to miss seeing the Boy-Who-Lived... period?" said Fred. "We could have Harry Potter Day be a day that Harry comes out of his little hiding place. It could be celebrated every ten years!"
"And just think of the marketing opportunity!" said George excitedly. "We could sell rope, blindfolds, and little model taxis, along with action figures! There could be one of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and Harry, and--"
"Will you two quit it?" said Ginny, rolling her eyes. "You're acting like two-year-olds."
The twins quieted down. Everyone in the dome was staring at them.
"Sorry," said Fred and George together.
Peter looked at James. "I'm so sorry... really I am..."
James held up his hand for Peter to stop and sighed. "It's okay. I probably deserved it. Besides, I'm trying to stay calm, so please just accept my forgiveness and stop talking to me."
In the silence that followed, James took out his blue bottle of pills. He swallowed a few without water. Then, realizing that he was not feeling any of the magic-lowering effects he was used to, he swallowed some more. When this did not provide the desired effect either, James sighed. I'm doomed... He tucked the bottle back in his pocket and sat down in the chair, slouching.
The group stared in mild shock at James' actions.
"What?" said James. "It's not like they work anymore." And before anyone could ask what "they" were, James answered it for them. "They're just pills that make my magic stop working. That's how I could live as a non-magical person, and that's how I couldn't be detected, and that's how you couldn't see my scar."
There was a pause.
"Well, that sure explains a lot," said Hermione, blinking a few times in surprise. "Especially how your magic level was scanned to read 0, which is impossible."
"Which is how we found you," said Ron.
James closed his eyes. "So, the very pills I use to free myself from the wizarding world actually pulled me back into it. How ironic..." he said dryly.
"Harry," asked Hermione tentatively. "Can you tell us why you left the wizarding world?"
James leaned forward and put his head into his hands.
Hermione continued. "I always thought it was because of me, but it cannot be just that. You are in such a state of denial... it's like nothing I've ever seen."
"And I would really like to know what happened," said Sarah. "I mean, it's like I don't even know you."
"Yeah," agreed Emma, "I don't know who you are, except that your name is not Jamesie Potterson."
Peter nodded, but didn't speak.
"So," said Fred, "Since it looks like we're going to be stuck inside this blue bubble-thing for a while, why don't you tell us, Harry?"
"If you tell us what happened," said George. "I can write a book about it and become richer than Ginny."
Ginny turned red, but appeared to agree with her brother on the "tell your life-story" bit.
"You don't have to do anything you don't want to, Harry," said Ron. "But it could pass the time faster. Of course, if you still want to run from your past, we can't make you tell us what happened."
Outside, the aurors were still working at the dome, trying to make it go away. James knew they would not find a counter-spell quickly. He had essentially made up the spell for the dome. His knew his power was too strong to stay within the confines of written spells. He also knew that E levels before him were the people to create most of the spells and hexes in the world. Sure, a regular witch or wizard could create a spell, but it was difficult, and could only be a simple spell. The dome was complicated. Yep, it would take hours for the aurors to remove the dome, perhaps days. Time was not a problem.
But did he really want to confront his past? As Ron said, nobody could make James talk about it. He could just stay in denial. But denial was getting to be hard work, and James was rather tired of running from his past. Why not let his story be known? Why not let out all the horrors he kept hidden in his memory, beneath layers and layers of denial and lies? The wizarding world was going to find him one day. There was already going to be tons of press about this incident. And the pills didn't work. James no longer had a protection from his past, from the wizarding world, and from his power.
James looked to his friends, both groups. It wasn't fair to keep them in so much worry, in so much fear, and in so much secrecy. Hermione had gone nuts to find him. Peter had let his fear and suspicion take over. Ron seemed to be the only calm one among them, which certainly was a change since school. Hermione was supposed to be the calm one and Ron was supposed to have a short temper and unreasonable logic. Peter was supposed to be James' best friend, but feared James the most at this moment. Maybe James didn't know his friends as well as he thought he did, and maybe (he thought) it took some openness on his part to get openness on their part.
None of his problems was going to be solved by lying anymore. James had to come clean. No, Harry had to come clean. There was no more James Potterson. There was only Harry, and his past.
"Fine," said Harry, summoning all the courage inside him. "I'll tell you. I'll tell you the whole story."
LOOK ON MY AUTHOR PAGE FOR THE EXCITING SEQUEL, "FACING THE PAST, FIXING THE PRESENT"!
This goes out to all of those who ever reviewed or read my story: You guys are the coolest, the best, the most wonderful readers out there! I love you all to pieces. Oh, and there will be a sequel coming up (as if I didn't set it up for one…) about what actually happened to make Harry leave. Anyhoo, thanks for all of your lovely reviews and e-mails. You guys are my heroes.
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Love to all,